I was delighted to get the chance to do some pattern reviewing for Jennifer Lauren whenever the opportunity came up lately. I felt like I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone both in terms of sewing and also style, so this seemed like the ideal opportunity.
I was pleased whenever I discovered it was the Laneway because it filled these 'criteria' in that it was probably a little bit more tricky than I've sewn of late (become a quick-fix sewer) and also, in all honesty, it's probably not one I would have chosen myself because I would have seen it as a bit too dressy.
I've sewn the Bronte and the Enid tops and love them both and so I knew that the pattern itself would probably be a good one.
So, with a style like this, probably the trickiest part is deciding which size to make. The pattern has options for sizes 6 -24, THAT'S A LOT OF OPTIONS! The other great thing is that there are 3 cup size options also, so that should lend itself to a great fitting dress. My measurements fell into the size 16 with a D cup and I made a rough toile of that in a cheap lining fabric and was fairly happy with that. The pattern also sets out the finished measurements of all sizes and cup sizes which is extremely useful.
The pattern itself has 3 options for the collar, an asymmetric collar, a centred collar and a normal additional plain round neck collar. I went for the asymmetric collar as I thought it was a little bit different. There are also waist darts front and back for great shaping, a concealed zip at the back and front inset pockets.
I went for a tencel chambray which I purchased a while ago at myfabrics.com. I'd already made some culottes so knew it would have nice fluidity and movement, not too light or heavy. I also deliberately chose a plain fabric in the hope that it would show the features of the dress, like the darts and the collar. It was, however, a bit of a nightmare when I came to sew the zip. Grrr! It slipped and slid all over the place. I had to hand baste it in place, then machine basted and then finally machine stitched. A good little tip (which probably a few of you experienced girls already know), when you've stitched one side of the zip in, close it, mark the other side of the zip at the point it meets the bodice/skirt seam and go by that when attaching it to the second side. It worked pretty well, phew!
Printing off the pdf pattern
With Jennifer Lauren patterns, she makes this really simple in that you only have to print off the sheets of paper that you need for your size and this is all made really clear in the pattern, so only certain pages for each cup size. Also each pattern piece can be seen really clearly in sections, rather than having hundreds of sheets all taped together spread across your table or floor. I really like this and not many pattern designers do this.
|Love these subtle inset pockets.|
All I can say is that the pattern instructions are excellent. Your hand is held practically every step of the way and although there are quite a few stages to the Laneway (4 front darts, 2 back darts , inserting sleeves, inserting pockets, skirt assembly, inserting the concealed zip and the neckline facing/collar), none are really too difficult and the pattern explains it all really well. Nothing to do with the pattern but my skirt seemed to drop at the front, I think this is something that can happen. I had pinned it, tried it on the next day and it dipped quite a bit at the front, so I just had to trim and adjust the hem.
I love it. I do know that these more fitted style dresses do suit me as I have a fuller figure, but I've tended to avoid them because of nervousness about fitting, but this pattern made it fairly straightforward with all the size options. I normally go for looser styles with ease, but this is a lovely change. I also love the pockets and the asymmetric collar, it's just that little bit different. The fit turned out fairly well, in all honesty it maybe doesn't have quite as much ease as the pattern intended, but I'm happy enough with it. I think it would be too big to go up another size. I'm also pleased that I made it in this fabric which means I can casualize it (yes, of course, that's a word, haha) and I think it will be lovely with a cosy cropped cardigan and knee length boots for the winter. A corduroy version I feel might be on the agenda if time permits. So I've enjoyed this as a different type of sewing project for me and definitely recommend it.